China telco revenue growth slows to 3.6% in '14

Dylan Bushell-Embling
26 Jan 2015

Revenue from China's telecom sector grew 3.6% in 2013 to 1.154 trillion yuan ($185.11 billion), but growth slowed substantially from 2013.

Total revenue growth during 2014 was 5.1 percentage points lower than the previous year, state-owned news agency Xinhuareported citing government data.

China's mobile phone penetration improved to 94.5%, suggesting that the market is showing signs of saturation.

Another factor contributing to the slowdown is the continued growth of OTT messaging applications including WeChat. OTT substitution lead to a 14.4% decline in SMS volumes during the year.

State owned operators China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom meanwhile continued to add 4G customers from their LTE rollouts.

The operators had a combined 972.8 million LTE customers as of the end of the year, ahead of the combined 3G customer base of 836.4 million.

China Telecom and China Unicom are meanwhile extending their hybrid FDD/TDD LTE network trials. The former operator recently selected the five vendors that will contribute to its second-phase trial rollout.

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